Continuing from Friday's post about a Microsoft employee's total disdain for Microsoft customers' concern about the next Xbox's rumored always-on requirement:
Image via Quickmeme.
My Internet connection went down while I was trying to find it. I'm not kidding.
That's the crux of it, isn't it?
From a consumer standpoint, there is no benefit to an always-on requirement.
Now, people may try to obfuscate this point. They may list off all the benefits of an always-on option. And there are some! Cloud saves are pretty cool! So's online multiplayer! Having those things as options is great!
Making them mandatory, for all games, is not. And therein lies the disingenuousness of the argument.
EA COO Peter Moore recently shared this gem:
Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It's not. People still want to argue about it. We can't be any clearer -- it's not. Period.
As difficult as it is to argue with the unassailable logic that is "It's not. Period.", there are two problems here:
- It's clearly DRM.
- Even if it weren't DRM, it would still be legitimately terrible game design.
This is one more case where a company representative is deliberately obfuscating the difference between a nice option and a good requirement.
The idea of an entire world of SimCities interacting with one another? That does sound pretty great! It's really a neat idea!
Is it integral to the gameplay?
Well, Peter Moore will tell you it is. Because Peter Moore is paid to tell you it is.
But it's turned out to be trivial to modify the game for offline play, and quite a lot of people have noted that the game plays just fine that way. The interaction with other players and cities is a nice option -- but it's not required to enjoy the game.
Indeed, it proved a pretty fucking considerable detriment to customers enjoying the game.
So beware this argument tactic -- "[X] is a good requirement to have, because of [features that could be implemented without making it a requirement]."
And its close cousin, "DRM is a benefit to the end user, because of [features that could be implemented without using DRM]."
DRM is never a benefit to the end user. No end user has ever said, "You know, this game is great, but it would be better if it had DRM."
Similarly, as the image above so succinctly notes, nobody has ever said "You know, offline games are great, but I sure wish they were as unreliable as online games."